03/28/2008 02:45 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Grief Mars Celebrations For Iraqi Christians

Sorrow haunts the face of the Iraqi mother as she leads her two small sons into a heavily guarded Baghdad church for Christmas Mass. Making the sign of the Cross, Maida Moshy slots into an empty pew to listen to the service, held in the afternoon of Christmas Eve because midnight is deemed too dangerous.

"I feel sad when I remember what Christmas used to be like with my large family," said Ms Moshy, with a sigh. Years of violence since the war prompted six of her ten siblings to leave Iraq or move to the safer Kurdish north, while four of her husband's five brothers and his sister have also fled. "I want my relatives to return because I hate being alone at Christmas," said Ms Moshy, 32. "Without them I feel like a Christmas tree with no decorations."

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